The Smartphone is to the Individual as CRM is to the Business. Here's why.
Think back about 10 years to a time when you carried a cell phone just to make calls and send text messages. You may have used the internet, but by the time a page loaded you could roast a Thanksgiving turkey. Clicking on a webpage link meant using the keys, hoping that you were actually clicking on the right link. You could take pictures, but they were the size of a thumbtack, and the quality was as good as the last episode of Lost. Pics required a magnifying glass for viewing, so you carried a camera as well. For travel, you were either cool and had a sweet GPS that almost looked like a second-rearview mirror, or you printed (on paper) the directions from Mapquest.
Fast-forward a whopping ten years later, and archaic, ancient, and obsolete are probably a few words that come to mind. I mean, who could ever live within those confines? You got by. In fact, you probably thought that those gadgets were technologically advanced; but the reality is that you lived a very fragmented life.
Enter the smartphone.
Even upon first release of the iPhone, it was clear Apple saw something we didn’t: the value of integrating those fragmented systems into one easy-to-use tool. They took an existing institutional tool--the mobile phone--and added value by creating an ecosystem of functionality. Moreover, they have continued down that path as evidenced by the introduction of Apple Pay. Now, they’ve made it so that you don’t need to carry your credit cards around.
Take five minutes to imagine all that can be integrated into your phone. It’s virtually certain Apple will continue to move in that direction, with the end-goal of bringing together life’s essentials—regardless of how fragmented their current existence may be—to form a cohesive solution. They move in this direction because it’s valuable; and this is why you and I are willing to pay $600 for a replacement phone when we drop it on the ground or in a puddle.
What Apple has created for the consumer is what Highland Solutions creates for businesses. Highland is dedicated to determining the essentials of your business to propose an integrated technology solution that maximizes value for your company and your clients.
Let me illustrate.
When implementing technologies within sales organizations, we generally help them move from cumbersome, limiting spreadsheets to a web-based CRM. Think of this as a transition from the static mobile phone to a dynamic smartphone. This is a big transition for folks, and it takes time; but like the smartphone, the CRM becomes a platform in which clients unleash new possibilities they were previously unable to achieve with their old tools. Taking it a step further, an integrated solution—one that unifies multiple departments by integrating CRM, ERP, marketing automation, etc.—will advance your organizational goals, and your bottom line.
Why preserve fragmented business tools?
Imagine empowering your sales team with the complete prospect communication history contained within a marketing automation solution without having to leave the contact record. Taking it a step further, what if you could provide your sales team with a holistic view of an account, including purchase history (from a backend system, like IBM iSeries) within the CRM or on their mobile device? What if you could support your customer care representative with a desktop notification that displays relevant customer information when a service call is received? (The latter example illustrates a solution we delivered for a client seeking telephony, desktop agent and CRM integration.)
What do you get with an integrated solution? Value.
With an integrated solution, your customer-facing team members will be customer accessible, mobile, and empowered with relevant data. Instead of expending energy and wasting time trying to warm cold leads, they can leverage underworked data to spot opportunities (e.g. spotting upsell potential). Improved access to prospect history will allow them to focus their energy and align their messages with marketing. An undervalued qualitative result is that your teams will work better across departments, because the previous silos have been eliminated by the integrated technology solution.
Don’t let your business get left behind like the mobile phone. Take the plunge—like you did when you bought your first smartphone. Move ahead of the laggards and set up your clients, your customer-facing teams and your organization for success.